CIOs Show that They Understand Business Leadership
Last week, I got to go to a Chief Information Office Leadership Forum put on by the Argyle Group. I really liked some of the things that these CIOs had to say about being a leader of IT and of their businesses. Here are the top 7 insights that made tremendous sense to me. Maybe, this list can even spur some action on your part and make you a better leader or an even better CIO.
- I started as a fixer but now I am really more of an evangelist for IT. CIOs involved in the Twitter #CIOChat have validated this when they said culture, leadership, and vision are critical. If you think about it, as a fixer, culture and leadership come first. Here, CIOs tell me that it is essential that they have a supportive business leadership team. With this, they say that they can evangelize a vision of a future business state. Clearly, a CIO vision statement needs to be about using technology to gain competitive advantage that will separate their business from others.
- It is the CIOs job to get things that are commodities at the lowest possible price so they can invest in the things that matter. CIOs tell me it is essential to show discipline towards achieving their goals and that they are able to engage their teams towards delivering them.
- CIOs can tie their team better to the business by assigning IT people to each business function. CIOs tell me that the ability to work together for the company’s good is a must, but they need the above qualities as well.
- Great IT organizations learn about the rest of business so that they can be part of the business. CIOs tell me that a strong partner to the business is needed. This is so that they can connect business problems to tech solutions. And as well, CIOs need to serve as the translator between business capabilities and technology solutions.
- Successful CIOs today can think like a business unit leader—this matters because IT is now core to most business strategies. This why CIOs need to challenge and lead. Additionally, CIOs tell me that they need to be a business leader first, that happens to have responsibility for IT. What an idea for those that see IT as a utility.
- CIOs need to move their organizations from the mantra of efficiency to the mantra of their digital challengers innovate or die. Scary! Here, CIOs say that they must get the management team including the CEO on board because they all have critical roles to play in digital transformation.
- CIOs wanting their businesses not to be disrupted should take their teams and pretend they are a competitor Once you think about what they could do and how you could respond, you know how not to be disrupted. At the same time, CIOs say to truly innovate and take on digital transformation, CIOs must be willing to take risks, fail, and learn quickly what works.
It seems clear to me that CIOs are now business leaders versus technology leaders. This is a huge step forward. But now this has occurred, CIOs need to take the mantle and help speed up the pace of innovation. If they and their organizations take this step, then they not have Darwin knocking on their door. A successful CIO that does this traverses one of two paths: 1) driver of innovation or 2) a strong partner with peers.